Orbimage wins NextView deal

Officials at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) awarded a contract worth up to $500 million to Orbimage Inc. as part of the agency's NextView initiative.

NextView ensures the availability of high-resolution pictures from the next series of U.S. commercial imagery satellites. The program gives the government greater access and priority and more advanced capability and capacity than in previous contracts, according to Defense Department officials.

"The agreement is a key development for both NGA and the commercial remote sensing industry. We need the next generation of commercial satellites to help us do our job, and we look forward to working with both NextView vendors to bring this new capability to fruition," said James Clapper, director of NGA, in a Sept. 30 agency statement.

Officials at NGA awarded the first NextView agreement in 2003 to DigitalGlobe Inc.

DOD and other agencies will buy a majority of their imagery data through commercial satellite services, rather than depending on NGA and other government sources, according to White House policy published in 2003. Bush administration officials want government agencies to concentrate on a limited range of missions in which commercial imagery services are not feasible because of concerns about national security, foreign policy or other factors.

Orbimage received another $500 million contract from NGA earlier this year for the agency's ClearView program. ClearView focuses on buying and processing of imagery. NextView includes buying and processing of imagery and designing and developing future satellites, said Dave Burpee, an NGA spokesman.

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